FX's The Bridge: Did It Cop Your Attention?

BRIDGE_0166FX on Wednesday night premiered the best new drama of the summer, The Bridge. Did the first episode leave you wanting más?

RELATED | The Bridge‘s Diane Kruger Hails FX Drama’s ‘Risky’ Themes, ‘Ballsy’ Handling of Asperger’s

The Bridge stars Diane Kruger as Sonya Cross, an El Paso police detective who takes charge when the body of a murdered American, anti-immigration judge is found on the causeway that connects her Texas town with Juarez, Mexico. But when it’s discovered that the bisected corpse in fact had the legs of a young Mexican woman, Chihuahua State Police officer Marco Ruiz (played by Demián Bichir) finds himself collaborating with Cross on the case, which promises to turn up more and more dead bodies, getting more and more grisly.

Elsewhere on the canvas, there’s Ted Levine (Monk) as El Paso’s even-keeled Lieutenant Hank Wade, who does what little he can (and little it is) to help others make hay of Sonya’s Asperger syndrome; Annabeth Gish (The X-Files) plays Charlotte, a new widow about to discover her late husband’s deep, dark secret; and Matthew Lillard (Scream) is Daniel Frye, a newspaper reporter whom the killer “targets” with a fake bomb, as a means to deliver this haunting message:

“Why is one dead white woman more important than so many dead just across the bridge? How long can El Paso look away? We’ve got some interesting times ahead. This is only the beginning.”

Do you sense that interesting times are in fact ahead on The Bridge? Any guesses what lies behind Charlotte’s husband’s secret door? And for those familiar with the Scandinavian source material Bron/Broen, how did the pilot and its performances compare?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. I thought the pacing was a bit slow…but the partnership between Sonya and Marco made up for it. I almost didn’t recognize Ted Levine aka Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.

    • Alichat says:

      I had to do a double take when Ted Levine appeared on screen. I recognized his voice first, but then when he took his hat off, I was startled. I agree that the pacing was a tad slow, but overall it’s compelling. And I like the partnership of Sonya and Marco. Bichir is quite charming. I’m not sure what the newly widowed horse breeder has to do with the overall story, so I hope we see a tie-in to that soon.

  2. BL says:

    Yup! I am hooked! Demian Bichir is amazing (and charming and handsome to boot!). I like DK’s Sonya- playing a homicide detective with Aspergers is not easy.

    What the heck is in basement?!?!

  3. StupidPeopleShutUp says:

    So boring. Diane Kruger terribly miscast. Fail.

    • Ms. Khaleesi says:

      I saw the original versión of the bridge. This “American” versión completely sucked!! It was a joke. Both my boyfriend and me could only watch 20 minutes of this.

    • laloba says:

      I was bored by the miscasting of Diane Kruger. The role calls for an actress with more range than that of a Nordic Alien. She distracted me from the moment she appeared because I could not reconcile her persona with that place. And this “syndrome” is a lame excuse for her to remain like an alien. The premise is hard gritty, dirty and messy and full of misxedup people and their emotions, in a messed up place. She’ just too “cool” in the sense that her character shoud be a little bit crazy but not the opposite-borderline autistic Nordic princess. She should just put on a silver space suit because casting her is just as ludicrous. A hard boiled street wise Texas beauty with some spunk would have been way better. Nope, I just can’t buy it. She has no business there. Just sayin,.

  4. Lisa says:

    I have to agree with Ausiello’s tweet a while back about Kruger being miscast and I second the above commenter on the pacing being love but I still enjoyed the show. Gotta see more to officially decide but I loved Demian, Annabeth Gish, and the dark and grungy scenery and feel of the pilot

  5. what! says:

    Awesome! Bichir was great, on fuego! Kruger was great too. I enjoyed the whole ‘cross’ theme that’s going on. Plus the music/tracks was perfect. What’s behind the secret door?: maybe photos or ID’s of women.

  6. Julie says:

    I liked it and I assume Charlotte will be tied into the storyline with whatever’s in the basement. I simultaneously liked and wanted to punch Sonya in the face. Npi disagree that she’s miscast. I think she’s supposed to appear like she doesn’t belong.

    • what! says:

      “wanted to punch Sonya in the face”, haha! I don’t get the whole miscast thing with DK. I agree, she was suppose to appear that she didn’t belong. Sonya has difficulty with social cues.

      • Lisa says:

        It was clear that she wasn’t supposed to belong. That wasn’t what bothered me. Kruger’s acting, while really good, isn’t right for this character at all. She still speaks slightly with her German accent for one and for another her portrayal of autism strayed from lacking empathy and communication skills and borderlined on robotic and lifeless. Almost as though she has absolutely no personality at all. In my opinion she’s just not right for the role, it happens sometimes

        • Lisa says:

          And I realize Asperger’s is only a form of autism but I was typing fast sorry!

        • It was yet another hurtful depiction of our loved ones with autism. People with autism and Asperger’s do feel empathy. They may not read cues about feelings immediately, but when they know someone is sad, they feel tremendous empathy. That character is a robot. Very damaging to our community.

          • Bob says:

            I thought she completely demonstrated empathy, especially when finding out her boss was leaving and helping the reporter to calm down in the car. I think she was a great cast and is actually helping broaden people’s opinions of Asperger’s because she doesn’t just show this wooden attitude toward everything. However, as someone who doesn’t know anyone with Autism or Asperger’s first hand, I’m only going off of what I’ve read about and seen previously and this show actually surprised me with the empathy and emotion that DK was giving.

          • Mark says:

            In response to Bob, Sonya’s reaction to her boss leaving is not empathy. Empathy is understanding and, to an extent, feeling what other people feel. She was showing sadness and pain, her own emotions, at having her boss leave. For those of us who have experience around people with Asperger’s, especially highly functioning, very intelligent ones, Sonya is fairly realistic. I work at a university as a clinical psychologist and I have worked with colleagues in other departments, including two professors who have Asperger’s. One of them is just like Sonya, but male. It’s hard to like people like them because by virtue of them not being able to understand how you feel (unless you are basically expressing it openly by crying, jumping with joy or throwing a tantrum), they can’t adjust their behavior to you, something we all do unconsciously to get along with others. Since they can’t do that, we react by not feeling particularly warm toward them, i.e., not liking them as much.

          • Mark, Your description of those with Asperger’s is based on one person it seems. And your assessment lacks empathy. Not only am I a mom to two girls on the spectrum, I have been a teacher for over 20 years and taught many kids on the spectrum. Empathy must be taught by parents, whether a child has autism or not. There are all kinds of people without empathy. Empathy is a two part process – the recognition of another person’s feelings and the empathic response. Sometimes those on the spectrum don’t read facial expressions and feelings well, but when made aware of how someone is feeling often respond with great empathy. The ones who do not have not been taught empathy. You don’t seem to have been taught it yourself.

    • BL says:

      ITA. I think some viewers are missing the big picture with Sonya. Quite disturbingly, the reviewer over at EW doesn’t like Sonya because Diane Kruger is too beautiful…ummmm okay?!?! There is a certain Laura Linney-ness about Kruger that I noticed tonight and I liked it.

  7. Alichat says:

    I forgot to mention that I haven’t been able to get PJ Harvey’s ‘Down By The Water’ out of my head since the pilot began.

  8. Ash says:

    we’ve seen the socially awkward but super genius character trope so many times in recent memory that I was hoping this show wouldn’t have it but they did. Still too early to tell is I like Sonya overall though. I do wonder how views will respond to the super slow pacing.

  9. Suz says:

    Why does Sonya have to have Asperger syndrome? Can she not just be a hardworking detective? Story looks like has many chapters but will need to pay attention for when dialog all Spanish in order to read translation.

    – Basement may hold proff of husband’s Mexican ‘wife’ and kids? And connection to the girl murdered: his oldest kid?

    • Mars244 says:

      Sonya has Asperger’s because the show is based on a Danish/Swedish show called Bron/Broen (meaning “The Bridge”) and her counterpart there has some kind of autism-spectrum disorder (probably Asperger’s) as well.

    • Oliviabensen12 says:

      So Sonya can’t be a hard working detective who happens to have aspergers?

      I love it when people think that mentally disabled people can’t possibly be in law enforcement. She hasto be tired perfect blonde chick who doesn’t have a problem in the world.

  10. JeffDJ says:

    I found the slow-burn pacing almost snoozy, but I’m intrigued by the case and I like Kruger & Bichir (and what’s behind that basement door???), and that’s enough right now to get me to at least tune in next week.

  11. Fm says:

    I at first thought Diane was miscast, there was a scene that just felt painfully embarrassing to watch as I thought she was doing an awful acting job. As the series progressed though I realized she has some kind of syndrome or issue and it fell into place. Demian was very charismatic, he just pleases the eye and has a pleasant demeanor. I almost stopped watching when I noticed my husband had fallen asleep, it started off a tad slow but to my better judgement I wanted to give it a chance at least until the end of the pilot. I am not disappointed and can tell I will get hooked.

  12. TVMAN says:

    It was a solid first episode. The BIGGEST problem for me & will be for the show is Diane. I like her as an actress, BUT the way portrays her character bothers me. Some of the scene were dragged down by her character… I understand she’s suppose to have some problem, but in my opinion, it’s bringing down the show.

  13. TLG says:

    Wow these networks have burnt us out on the aspergers/savant characters. Kruger is miscast and Bichir is carrying it. The pacing is a bit off. I give it an overall C.

  14. David says:

    Having seen the Danish original, I have to say this version is peculiarly wooden and seems uncomfortable letting a certain amount of ambiguity (mystery) rest at its center. There is significantly more chatter filling up the scenes…which is what? The Americanization of it? Disappointing. The original was atmospheric and compelling…this one: noisy and a bit obvious. Kruger–who looks very much like her Danish counterpart–is thoroughly unbelievable in the role. Bichir, quite good…the lone success, IMHO.

    • Barb says:

      I too had watched the original and enjoyed it quite a bit (believe there was another series of the show in the works). Only watched the beginning of episode (will watch the rest on the weekend) but was having deja vu since, once again, they are basically mimicing the Nordic version bugging the hell out of me. Would have been better just to air the original but, I guess, they don’t feel subtitles would be accepted on the whole. The ending will probably be changed as usually.

      • Jon says:

        Overall I liked it, am OK with Kruger and Bichir casting. But the pacing wasn’t just a little slow, it was a lot slow. Need it to pick it up to keep my attention.

  15. The Beach says:

    Does anyone know the song/singer that was played as the widow returned to her ranch?

  16. James D says:

    I loved it. its slow which obviously will turn people off, and i’m not sure how you can stretch into a series. but Damian Bichir is very good, and I thought Kruger was pretty good as well, i’ll with hold judgment on her until i see a view more episodes. I love the premise.

  17. Diane says:

    Two words: Demian Bichir. He’s why I watched tonight & why I’ll keep watching.

    • Roderick says:

      Absolutely, Demian Bichir. He’s the only reason I was interested and he’s the only reason I will keep on watching.

  18. Trish says:

    Some people will immediately pick up on the cues about Sonjia. A female with aspergers isn’t often portrayed on tv

  19. Kat says:

    I enjoyed the episode in spite of the slow pacing. But I have to admit, what got me excited was the short promos for Sons of Anarchy’s new season. Looking forward to seeing my dirty, sexy boys again!

  20. I thought it was great. The pacing was great as it gave us the mystery and then introduced us to the characters and cultures..

  21. Louie says:

    Bichir gives Mexican actors a good name…. He is awesome…looking forward to going on this crazy Trip this series is guaranteed to take me on…

  22. Louie says:

    People watch this show! Stop dwelling on the asperger syndrome part of dianes character

    • Jane says:

      If they didn’t want people to dwell on it they shoudn’t have made it such a prominent issue. I found it very distracing. Bichir however was great.

  23. i.am.hooked says:

    Was not disappointed..Bichir will keep me coming back for more..Kruger at present seems miscast..she needs to catch up fast..too wooden and her detachment feels awkward…
    I am going to guess that basement leads to an underground passageway that connects to deadman’s lover and Mexican human trafficking counterpart..Gish is amazing!

  24. Iris says:

    Why do Americans not want to read subtitles? Its a daily thing for most non-english countrys. The original Danish version was very good, great acting, great storytelling so why remake it?

    • Barb says:

      Exactly. The originals are always so much better. Big deal about the subtitles. It just means you have to pay more attention to the television. The original Killing was so much better than the States version and the Bridge will more than likely be the same deal.

    • Tookie Clothespin says:

      As an American that does not mind subtitles but prefers not to have them I will explain the reason, at least for myself anyway. TV and movies are made for watching not reading. They are a visual medium. What I mean by this is when you have to constantly look down to read what is being said oftentimes you miss out on the acting. You miss out on the nuance of subtle facial expressions. You miss out on the care that was put into choice of clothing and background scenery and setting that enhances the story because you are so focused at reading the dialogue. The subtitles are a distraction that detracts from the viewing experience, at least for me anyway.

  25. Jenna says:

    I liked it. Have not seen the original, but this remake will probably have more meaning to Americans since it involves a Mexican connection, which I’m guessing will deal in part with the hot topic of immigration issues.
    Bichir is great and very well cast, we all agree; and I will wait to judge Krugar till a few more episodes air. So far, so good, IMO. I’m definitely intrigued and will stick around.

  26. Robert says:

    Sorry to disagree with most viewers, but, although I will continue to watch the series for the mystery and for the other characters, Ms. Kruger’s acting is a flop and a distraction for me. Over and over again, she seems to be acting like she thinks somebody with Asberger’s would act or like she’s been told that they act. It’s a stiff put-on: I can’t get past the thought that I’m watching poor acting rather than an interesting character.

    • Linda says:

      Agreed…She is annoying…Not that she is not a good actress, I am assuming she is under the instruction of the director…I t annoying and distracting. There is plenty going on w/o that…imo…

  27. Phil E says:

    Oh boy. I’ve aways had trouble with Diane Kruger’s acting. She just seems – well, not very good in most things I’ve seen. So I was excited to see this and hoping it would be the niche she was looking for. She was terrible! And since when does a Texas cop have a German accent? She ruined the show for me. I get was she was trying to do but she overdid all the mannerisms and pushed it waaay to far. I’ve seen the original and the actress the same role pulls it off a lot more smoothy and believably.

  28. Lynn says:

    I teach middle and high school students with Asperger’s and autism. I thought Sonya’s part was spot-on! The struggle to react in accordance with social expectations (and the resulting robotic & manufactured responses), along with the inability to pick up on others’ emotions or social cues make for some awkward and slow moments, but I thought it also added some depth beyond the ‘usual’ characters portrayed in this type of series. Very thought-provoking on many levels beyond disability (i.e. border politics, etc).

    • Maryann says:

      Thank you. Watching the show last night, I was wondering how spot-on the portrayal was. Knowing that someone who is around people with Asperger’s sees it as believable and well done will let me relax and enjoy the show. Like many others, I have never personally known someone with this condition, and so was wondering how realistic it was. I also liked the fact that they showed that she was able to function in her job because her boss protected her, and her very real fear that she has as to who will look out for her now that he is leaving.

      I do have a question, though. Although Sonya has a very thick skin in regard to others’ emotions and seems oblivious to their feelings, she does seem to have feelings of her own, as shown by her attachment to the memory of her sister. How does this work? To what degree do people with Asperger’s actually feel normal emotions and attachments to others?

      • People with autism and Asperger’s are human beings and feel everything other people do. They are just not always great at expressing it. As far as the previous Lynn’s post, I disagree. It all depends on the person. If they have been taught empathy, they will display it. Contrary to what people believe, children must be shown and taught empathy to be capable of it. There are, unfortunately, many people of all kids who cannot feel empathy. It is not a phenomena particular to autism. This is just another bad portrayal of a person with autism. The actress appeared to be a cyborg, not a person with autism

        • sam says:

          I didn’t see the cyborg you’re talking about. Sonya seemed to have difficulty processing emotions and giving proper feedback, but she was the opposite of robotic.

        • Louise says:

          Eileen, I agree with you completely. My daughter has Asperger’s, and I find Kruger’s portrayal a setback as well. Her performance reinforces stereotypes and misconceptions, especially about empathy. Autism expert Tony Abbott completely challenges the lack of empathy stereotype, claiming that in reality Aspies often feel too much, which creates a sort of overload. I wish Kruger’s research went beyond the on-set consultant (one male with Asperger’s)–she’s no Clare Danes, that’s for sure. Hoping it gets better.

    • kate says:

      Agree 100%. It’s clear that most of the people who find Sonya “annoying” or “distracting” have never interacted with a person with Asperger’s in their lives. I have a friend with Asperger’s, and he’s exactly like Sonya. Very intelligent, high functioning, but sometimes lacking in the “correct social responses” department.

  29. John O says:

    Couldn’t get into the story because of the non-stop darkened imagery. I wanted to flip on a light switch. The story appeared to be dark and sinister enough. Don’t think it was necessary to abandon the reasonable use of lighting technicians. Turned off since I could not tolerate watching a TV show that appeared to be taking place inside a cave.

  30. rmr says:

    I may be alone, but always loved the rough looking man(Bichir) paired with a beautiful woman(Kruger). They may not be romantically involved(maybe too early to tell), but it’s a turn on and tune in for me. :)

  31. Fred Schulze says:

    Very disappointing, especially after all of the buildup. Marketing of this program was a lot better than the program itself. Nothing thrilling about this “thriller”. The plot was pretty good, but the acting was terrible. Also, poor & unrealistic depiction of border concerns – lightweight, fluffed. The El Paso police department should be insulted. They are a lot more professional & intelligent than what was depicted in the program. Way too many commercial interruptions; very annoying. I didn’t time it, but it seemed like the commercials had more “air time” than the program itself. Overall, pretty much a wasted 1 1/2 hours.

  32. I found this show unbelievably offensive. The character has no empathy (thanks to FX for reinforcing that horrible and untrue stereotype), is rude, robotic, and lacks any human emotion. That is NOT how someone with Asperger’s behaves. Yet, another damaging portrayal of our loved ones.

    Apparently the show employed a young man with Asperger’s as a consultant. Autism Speaks was promoting the show on their website Autism Speaks should speak out about how awful this show is, instead of promoting it!!!!!!

    • TV Gord says:

      I have experience with people on the spectrum, as well, and I think you’re being a little too defensive. It’s called a spectrum, because there are people with widely varying degrees of severity. You seem to want everyone to be pigeon-holed into your narrow view of what Asperger’s is.

      • what! says:

        Sorry, TV Gord’s gotta point.

        • Experience with people on the spectrum is not my life – my life is being the mom to two girls on the spectrum and devoting 25 years to working with kids on the spectrum. I think I know what I am talking about. This show does not accurately depict someone the spectrum. The character is a cyborg, and not a human being.
          Please don’t tell me I am being defensive. Unless you are part of a specific minority group, you cannot understand the repercussions of negative stereotypes being perpetuated in the mainstream media.

          • TV Gord says:

            I don’t want to splay my story out on a message board, but I stand by what I wrote, and the only thing I want to add is that I did not see a cyborg in this character, so I do still believe you are seeing what you want to see…out of defensiveness. I don’t need you to agree with me, but I just hope you’ll consider that I’ve written what I’ve written for a reason, and it might be something for you to consider, regardless of whether you ever agree with me.

          • cake says:

            This must be the comment someone with Asperger’s, who saw herself 100% in Sonya, was referring to. A cyborg, not a human being, that’s how you see people like Sonya. Nice perception you have there!

          • kate says:

            Oh boy! A SJW! You ARE being defensive. I have a friend with Asperger’s who is EXACTLY like Sonya. Very intelligent, high functioning, but he sometimes isn’t good with social cues, doesn’t always express his feelings well, and doesn’t always give the correct social responses. I don’t particularly like that you’ve labeled my friend a cyborg, but what do I know, I’ve only known the guy since I was a kid. You must know better, all knowing, somehow hilariously narrow minded SJW.

  33. John says:

    I have to echo what so many others have said here. I found it enjoyable, mostly for Demian Bichir. He is single-handedly carrying the show in my opinion. The pacing was slow but I can get past that as I usually find pilots a little slow and uneven. However, Diane Kruger absolutely ruins it for me. I was aware before watching the pilot that she would be playing a character with an autism disorder but her portrayal was horrendous. She’s completely wooden and lifeless, she reminds me of a six year old pretending to be a robot. Everything I’ve seen her in including this just proves to me that she has zero range and has been terribly miscast. I’ll give it a few more episodes and see if Bichir can make me forget about Kruger but right now that could be difficult to pull off.

  34. Anne says:

    Real life is filled with humour, unfortunately here the only laughs to be found are at Dianne Krugers feeble attempt at acting! It has been years since I have seen a performance on TV this inept. I must admit that the notion of carrying political correctness to handing a gun to a person with aspergers is pretty funny, but believable absolutely not.

  35. JCK says:

    Bones meets Wallander. I realize the Tempe’s social awkwardness is not due to Asperger’s, but the result is much the same as early seasons of Bones. And the dark mood and slow pace is very reminiscent of the dreary Wallander series. What was missing, for me, was any comic relief. The bit with the office lady and Levine about the coffee maker was not enough to balance the heaviness.

  36. Mister says:

    FX usually hits with it’s originals. But this one. SMDH.. The acting was TERRIBLE!! And it was way to slow of a pace for the first ep. I’ll give it two more eps. If nothing changes. Then I’ll move on.

  37. Debbie says:

    I wish El Paso could have been portrayed as a more progressive border town, not everyone walks around with a cowboy hat on and a hick accent, crime is everywhere not just in a border town, it reminded me of a Lifetime movie, the acting could have been better.

    • Brigitte says:

      I totally agree. I grew up in El Paso and this show made it look like a giant wasteland instead of the large, mountainous city it is.

  38. trixie says:

    It was a total fail crappy acting and just very slow

  39. Sharon Hammel says:

    Somehow I missed the part where Sonya has Asperger’s and I thought she was a poor imitation of Temperance Brennan. Either make her situation more apparent to the viewer or re-write her role. Otherwise, good show.

  40. Janie Dalton says:

    at first I thought it was going to be an excellent show but found out different when they started using God’s name in vain and it could have been bleeped out and maybe become one of the best movies of the summer but fx just doesn’t get it that we don’t want to hear that kind of stuff.

    • Peepars says:

      It’s on FX, what exactly were you expecting? Have you not seen an FX show before? You can also see more graphic images of violence on NBC. Also it isn’t a movie, it’s tv show. Check your facts before you start to make pious comments.

  41. kev says:

    Well i definitly drew into the mex/u.s border idea, it is a huge topic on bothsides, to many hangers for a pilot, had they shown the basement or given a little more i would say its got me, but very loose like the last 3 seasons of lost. Love how they demonstrate americas dependence on hispanics, a coin americans refuse to pick up.

  42. P says:

    The writing is horrible on this show.

  43. Ann-Marie Montibello says:

    I was looking forward to the bridge BUT I Can’t stand reading tv shows n I’m sick of shows being filmed in the dark all the time.

  44. Clover says:

    I didn’t like the promos for The Bridge, but was interested in the premise enough to watch. I was disappointed early on. I realize she is supposed to have Aspberger’s but I wasn’t buying Diane Kruger’s performance, the lighting was very, very dark, annoyed by the constant flip between Spanish/English (it’s late, I don’t want to have to squint at the tv to have to read dialogue) what was behind the door, and the reporter was introduced 2-3 minutes before the bomb? Wasn’t impressed.

  45. Craig Shellady says:

    Show could be promising, but not willing to read subtitles, that is expecting too much!

  46. charles says:

    I don’t think She can carry the show , or maybe it’s the writing

  47. TV Gord says:

    Boy, a lot of people sure remembered to take their bitter pills today.

  48. Michael says:

    más, por favor

  49. Sarah says:

    I am so excited about this show! Finally there is goingto be some light shed on “Las desaparecidas or “The disappeared ones”. The hundreds of young women , mostly poor factory workers who have gone missing and many found mutilated in this area. There are many therories including a serial killer or several serial killers from one or the other side of the border. The characters are intriguing and seem as though the differences will be put aside as they work together to find the killer(s). And the eye opening issue will at least start the discussion!

  50. sam says:

    I for one enjoyed all the actors and characters and my favorite was Sonya, although Marco was a delight. She was more complex and interesting in the pilot, so I’m more drawn to her. I don’t think Diane Kruger was miscast at all. Her portrayal of Sonya was very similar to Sofia Helin’s, but I hope it evolves and that she can make it her own.

    The pacing was very slow the first half of the episode, but it picked up in the second. The fake bomb scene was very tense and well acted by everyone.